When I tell people that, not only do I not want children, but that I intend to get a tubal ligation I often hear the question, â€œBut, what if you change your mind?â€ There are many responses to that; â€œwhen pigs fly,â€ â€œwhen hell freezes over,â€ â€œI wonâ€™t change my mind,â€ or sometimes if Iâ€™m too weary to argue, â€œIf that happens, Iâ€™ll adopt. But it wonâ€™t, so itâ€™s a moot point.â€ The last one thankfully has never spawned a comment like, â€œBut donâ€™t you want to pass on your genes?â€ Nonetheless, it is wearying to know that no matter what I say, most people just donâ€™t get it.
Iâ€™ve been thinking about a way to help people understand that not wanting children isnâ€™t some childish whimsy of my own. When thinking about a similar response to the question â€œBut what if you meet a man who changes your mind?â€ (as if a man is the only kind of person Iâ€™d want to meet, but I digress), I began thinking about relationships and sexuality â€“ something all people can understand on some level.
Think about it this way: if you become life partners with someone, then vows (spoken or unspoken) are exchanged. For better or for worse, you have made a contract with that person to give them your love and affection. In a monogamous relationship, you have given your promise to be with them and only them. If being with that person is something you feel in your heart is right, then do you regret the decision? Do you mourn every time you itch for something new, something different? Do you run off with the first person who takes your fancy, abandoning everything youâ€™ve built with your life partner? No, probably not. The small things can be dealt with easily, and the larger things worked around (relationship counselling or, if absolutely necessary, parting ways).
In some ways, getting sterilized is like taking vows. These vows are not to a partner, but they are still to someone I love. I want to make these vows to myself as a way of honouring part of who I am. A way to make my life better because no longer will I have to face the decision of using birth control, which my body cannot tolerate properly, or relying solely on barrier methods with the constant fear of getting pregnant. It is a freeing decision; a way to ensure that, no matter what my life turns out to be that I will never, ever be pressured or forced into bringing a pregnancy to term. It is something that I need to do for myself, just as marrying someone out of love is something that some people feel they need to do for their relationship and their life partners.
Is it possible that part of me will regret the decision? Sure, but regret is a natural, human response. Part of me even regrets decisions that made my life better. I regret not having found a way to learn Japanese when the program at my university was unbearable. But my education in the general Asian Studies program was as valuable, if not moreso, and going to language school next year in Japan may be even more rewarding than having tried learning in a foreign country with the constant threat of getting bad marks on my mind. None of that will erase the bitterness of what was, but I regret more that it delayed me from what I wanted rather than what I decided to do with that delay. And I donâ€™t regret my decision; I did what I had to do for myself. Right or not, it was my decision to make and I made it.
And, isnâ€™t that what it boils down to? The right to make my decision about my body. To do what is right for me. I donâ€™t want kids, have never wanted kids, and will never want them. I have the right to pursue happiness, and one branch of my happiness has a name: tubal ligation. I will not be happy and I will not be free until I obtain my goal.